Perennials that Attract Hummingbirds

Penstemon ‘Grape Taffy’ – Beard-Tongue is a long-blooming perennial that also attracts butterflies and is deer resistant. ‘Grape Taffy’ is a newer introduction from Terra Nova Nurseries with reddish-purple flowers accented with a prominent white throat – these are borne from June to October. It prefers full sun with good soil drainage and grows 24″ high. Hardy to zone 7.

Lobelia cardinalis ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’ – This cultivar of perennial Lobelia has much better vigour and winter hardiness than the species. The tall spires of tomato red flowers emerge from July to September and these are held over foliage that emerges maroon, but matures to an olive green with bronze highlights. It can also be used as a bog plant. Grows 30-36″ high. Zone 4.

Alcea rosea – The stately spires (4-5′ tall) of Hollyhocks are rare in coastal gardens due to their short-lived nature (usually a self-seeding biennial) and fungal (rust) problems. That said, we still have the option of growing them in west or south facing foundation beds, protected from the rain under the eaves. The hummingbirds seem to prefer single-flowered reds, pinks or purples. Zone 3.

Monarda ‘Jacob Cline’ – Few plants draw hummingbirds into the garden as quickly as Beebalm does, and they will even get quite territorial over it. The deep scarlet blooms of  ‘Jacob Cline’ is one of the best and it is also mildew resistant. ‘Gardenview Scarlet’ would be another good choice for colour and disease resistance, with both of these varieties growing 3 to 4 feet tall. Hardy to zone 3.

Phygelius aequalis ‘Purple Prince’ (syn. ‘Cropurpri’) – Cape Fuchsia is a native of South Africa but does quite well here in coastal British Columbia. ‘Purple Prince’ features rich violet blooms for most of the summer (July to October) over small deep green leaves and should be deadheaded regularly to promote more flowers. Leave the plant intact in fall and cut down in spring. Grows 24″ high. Zone 7 hardy.

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